Figures from Greenwich Council reveal that just 16 per cent of shopfronts in Plumstead have been improved as the project winds down.
They also revealed in an answer before a full council meeting tonight that £894,000 out of a total £5.2 budget was spent on shopfronts.
Given how much already spent in other areas it’s possible there was no money to improve others whether desired or not.
Officers decided to allocate most funds from the Good Growth Fund on paying for a private business to move from Greenwich to the former power station.
That left little for the High Street and Lakedale Road particularly after consultant costs. Plans for a public market on that site were also dropped.
Along the High Street, the shopfront project was intended to remove dated and garish designs.
Yet just as work completes on a meagre 16 per cent of shops, new signage has already appeared on a listed building elsewhere – and it doesn’t exactly fit the brief of what was supposed to happen across the area.
The overall project has been criticised from inception by the public and councillors at various meetings.
A 2022 meeting saw councillors ask why so much was being spent with so little to show for it.
Officers failed to give adequate answers last year on why so much of the run down High Street and Lakedale Road was being deprived of funds.
Council departments also failed to include the area around the station with 2,600 homes now underway across three sites in the nearby vicinity.
So not only did they fail to include the station area in improvement work under the Good Growth Fund but then failed to allocate any revenue from three nearby developments.
Here’s the famous new “Plumstead Plaza”. The trees already existed before work undertaken.
This section between the station and many shops remains a bit of a cluttered eyesore and untouched.
It’s not all bad though.
With the project now apparently complete there are some decent areas. Whether these will be maintained or simply become litter strewn and replaced by tarmac in a year as seen elsewhere remains to be seen.
If Abbey Wood’s row of shops on Wilton Road is a guide, it wont last. Greenwich Council put tarmac put down this spring after upgrade work around four years ago.
Woolwich is in line for landscaping as part of a £20 million pound project – but the council have shown little evidence of thinking ahead and maintaining public spaces.
On Plumstead High Street a revamped green space not too far from the station does look better than before.
But overall for Plumstead it’s a missed opportunity.
Some good work has happened such as clutter removal but that costs pennies in the grand scheme of a £5.2m improvement.
Much of the High Street has not changed in terms of quality of street furniture, paving, general attractiveness and usability on foot nor have many buildings been touched.
Even where some changes have been undertaken such as new pavement, it’s been done in a clumsy and cheap manner.
With £5.2 million to play with, it should have ended up a hell of a lot better than this.